As the Ohio State Buckeyes continue to search for their offensive identity, their defense will likely be what wins most of their games for them.
The Ohio State defense is led by Aaron Craft, who is one of the best guards in the country. Craft is hard to ignore when he’s on the court. He is an elusive defender who is not afraid to be aggressive and will steal the ball right out of an opposing player’s hands. Craft is no slouch on offense either, frequently contributing points and assists, as well as controlling the tempo of the game.
Craft averages 2.5 steals per game and had five out of Ohio State’s eight steals on Wednesday night against the Maryland Terrapins. Ohio State dominated the Terrapins defensively. Their defensive performance was a key factor in the Buckeyes’ 16-point win. Along with the eight steals, Ohio State blocked four shots, held the Terrapins to less than 40 percent shooting and pressured them so well that the Terrapins only made two three-pointers out of 18 attempts. The Terps also turned the ball over 14 times in this game. The Buckeyes scored 18 points off of these turnovers in the first half alone, while the Terrapins were not able to capitalize on the turnovers by Ohio State in the first half at all. In the end, those 18 points made all the difference for the Buckeyes.
Craft’s leadership on the defensive side of the ball will be a huge factor in Ohio State’s success this season. His abilities to be an elusive, aggressive and fearless player will be greatly missed next year, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Hopefully Craft can make his senior season the best one yet. He’s already off to a great start.